All Posts Tagged With: "liberals"
Large protests outside meeting in Sherbrooke
Quebec’s young Liberals declared their support for tuition hikes, their desire for an independent body to investigate police shootings in Montreal and support for a ban on tanning salons for youth at their meeting in Sherbrooke this weekend. Meanwhile, hundreds of other students protested outside the meeting as Premier Jean Charest addressed the audience inside.
They were protesting Charest’s plan to raise the tuition cap from roughly $2,200 to roughly $3,800 a year. The plan prompted a large protest in April at which five people were arrested.
Marie-Pier Isabelle, President of the Quebec Young Liberals told CBC News: “There are ways to have a hike that is intelligent and that permit us to maintain accessibility to post-secondary education while maintaining the quality of our universities.”
New poll data shows young voters aren’t any more likely to vote for Layton. It’s everyone else who is.
The NDP is surging in Quebec and many point to the party’s popularity among young voters as the reason why. Jack Layton’s progressive message, the logic goes, makes him stand out as a legitimate alternative to Gilles Duceppe among left-leaning voters.
But here’s a problem with that storyline: data from the Historica-Dominion Institute’s poll of young voters suggests there isn’t an NDP surge among Quebec youth at all. Its 2011 Inter-generational Study shows young Quebecers are no more likely to vote NDP now than they were in 2008. Back then, the party captured a mere 12 per cent of the vote in Quebec.
The Historica-Dominion survey gathered the opinions of 831 youth aged 18 to 24, including 189 from Quebec. The NDP was the most popular party among young voters in Quebec, capturing 27 per cent support, while the Liberals got 23 per cent, the Bloc Québécois got 21 per cent, and the Conservatives came last with 8 per cent. (For more results from the study, including a look at which issues matter to young voters, read the next issue of Maclean’s.) Those figures are virtually unchanged from the Institute’s 2008 Youth Election Study, which found 27 per cent of young Quebecers leaning toward the NDP, another 27 per cent supporting the Bloc, 20 per cent behind the Liberals, and 7 per cent leaning Tory.
The youth numbers also mirror last week’s EKOS and CROP polls, give or take a few points. “That seems to indicate the rest of the population is catching up to the youth in considering the NDP rather than a youth surge,” says Allison Harell, a political scientist at the University of Quebec at Montreal. That may be good news for Jack Layton. If his support is more broadly distributed across age groups, she adds, it may translate into more votes on election day. Historically, only about a third of Canadian youth end up voting, compared to nearly two-thirds of the electorate overall.
The big question is whether the current NDP supporters—young or not—will change their minds before election day. Houda Souissi, a 21-year-old labour law student at the University of Montreal has already switched back to Duceppe after a brief dalliance with Layton. After scrutinizing the NDP record, she worries an NDP government could take away provincial powers. She’s also turned-off by Layton’s stance on the long gun registry. Most importantly, she’s wary of inexperienced MPs. “I don’t want to say they’re nobodies,” she says. “But outside of Outremont, we don’t really know who the NDP candidates are.”
Souissi’s worries may be moot come May 3. If the NDP’s surge in the polls translates into actual votes, the party’s Quebec candidates could be well on their way to becoming decidedly mainstream among voters of all ages.
Candidate has never lived in the riding and won’t arrive there until after exams are over
It happens in every federal election. As one of the mainstream parties, you’ve got 308 ridings to fill, some of which are in places you haven’t won since the days of Diefenbaker, and there is no experienced candidate stepping up to the plate. But you need someone to represent you, if only so your opponents can’t accuse you of not being able to recruit candidates coast to coast.
Enter the gullible student.
They are more sacrificial lambs then the wave of the future, young loyalists willing to volunteer five weeks for a bit of fame, a lot of experience, advancement within the party—and absolutely no chance of winning.
There are a few of them running for the major parties this year. In Cariboo-Prince George, 22-year-old Jon Van Barneveld is running for the NDP after years of volunteering as a youth for the party. In Edmonton-Strathcona, 20-year-old Matthew Sinclair is running for the Liberals after years of much the same thing.
Though at least they live in their ridings. Perhaps the most tokenistic of token candidates in this election, at least for the main national parties, is Kyle Warwick, the Liberal candidate for Skeena-Bulkley Valley. It comprises the entire northwestern quarter of British Columbia and is the seventh largest riding in Canada.
Warwick is a UBC Political Science student who, as geography might hint at, does not live in Skeena-Bulkey Valley, and never has. According to an article by The Northern View, “Warwick says he will be touring the riding and talking to voters in the different communities sometime after April 20th.” I’m going to go out on a limb, guess his final exam is on the 20th, and wish him well on his 12-day tour of a riding of 323,720 square kilometres.
In the 2008 election, the Liberals only managed 1,916 votes here (their third lowest total in Canada), good for 5.5 per cent, so when previously nominated candidate and local mayor Sharon Hartwell dropped out last week, it stands to reason that the riding association turned their attention to simply finding a warm body.
Yet if you can’t find anyone with real qualifications or connection to your riding though, what’s the point of fielding a candidate at all? It’s one thing to find a student with no hope of winning. But a student who isn’t from your own riding? Whose only electoral achievements have been at the student council level?
Warwick is passionate about politics and cares deeply for the Liberal Party. It’s a wonderful opportunity for him. What it says about the party he represents is a different matter.
If Ignatieff wants to help students, targeted funds are better than washing everyone with money
Releasing part of his education platform this week — attractively titled the Learning Passport — Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff promised up to $1,500 for every post-secondary student in Canada to help offset the rising costs of a university education. The money would be a grant, issued to every student, to help pay for university.
Quite frankly, the idea is not thought out very well.
$1 billion is a lot of money, especially for students who, by and large, are broke. But not all students are broke and not all students are in need. Canada Student Loans, through its needs-based scholarships and bursaries programs, collects a lot of data outlining which students are in need of funds and which are doing just fine on their own.
In their own words:
“In 2006-2007, the CSLP provided over $1.9 billion in full- and part-time student loans to approximately 345,000 students and awarded $141.8 million in non-repayable Canada Study Grants and Canada Access Grants (87,368 grants).”
By taking that billion dollars and applying it to needs-based grants instead of washing everyone in cash, Ignatieff could be boosting grants to students by more than seven times while maintaining needs-based loans at existing levels. Tuition fees at Canada’s post-secondary institutions have more than tripled since the early 1990s and in some provinces it has quintupled. And it’s only rising. Student debt in Canada is spiralling out of control, limiting participation in larger life events like cars and houses.
Ignatieff is right to invest in post-secondary education and right to try to improve access to those institutions. But blindly throwing money at the problem is the wrong approach. Targeted financing could do much to reduce student debt and improve access, if only Michael were smart enough to realize it.
But that doesn’t mean the census debate is igniting a culture war
A new Ekos poll released today suggests that university graduates prefer the Liberals over the governing Conservatives. Ekos president Frank Graves says this “trend” might reflect not only discontent over the great census crisis, but is also indicative of “a deeper structural divide between the educated elite and what Galbraith calls the ‘not so rich.’” By “not so rich” Graves is referring to “college graduates.” In other words, we are in the midst of a culture war, the census debate is the catalyst, and the line is being drawn between the university educated and the college educated. Too bad Ekos’s own data doesn’t appear to support that conclusion.
The two-week survey, conducted between July 7 and 20, shows that 29.9 per cent of those with a university degree would vote Conservative against 32.0 per cent who would vote Liberal if an election were held tomorrow. For the college educated the numbers are 34.8 per cent Conservative and 23.7 per cent Liberal. Apparently this is what Graves means by a “deeper divide” between the “educated elite” and everyone else.
For that speculation to have even a whiff of credibility, wouldn’t it have to be shown that the divide has actually deepened over time, say by tracking Ekos’s own polls? If the numbers are substantially different than they were in May or June, before the phrase ” long-form census ” found its way into newspapers on an almost daily basis, than Graves might have a point. But that isn’t the case.
In the Ekos poll released June 24, results were nearly identical to the July poll. University grads still favoured the Liberals (34.3 per cent) over the Conservatives (29.0 per cent) and college grads still preferred the Conservatives (34.1 per cent) against the Liberals (23.7 per cent). Despite these largely unchanged numbers, support for the government among university grads in fact increased in July over June, if only a little (0.9 per cent) and decreased for the Liberals by 2.3 per cent. While support among college grads for the government also increased between June and July, (0.7 per cent), support for the Liberals among this group was unchanged. Hardly a widening cultural chasm.
Now, as the Globe points out, the second week of the July survey does appear to show a drop in support for the government among university grads (to 28.3 per cent) and a rise in support among the “not so rich” college educated ( to 38.7 per cent). Even these numbers, however, appear to be consistent with long-term trends as opposed to a sharp divide precipitated by recent events. The Ekos poll released on May 24 had support for the Conservatives among the university educated at 31.6 per cent, but it was 27.8 per cent at the beginning of April. In the May poll 36.0 per cent of college graduates supported the government, while the April poll had the number at 34.4 per cent.
Removing the long-form census may be bad public policy, and it might be fun to argue that university graduates (with their apparently superior understanding of data collection) would be particularly irked, and it might also be fun to argue that college graduates (with their obvious affinity for “red meat” policies) are ecstatic over no longer having to fill out lengthy census forms. But, this week’s poll is just another in a long list of polls that demonstrates shifting support for this or that party according to level of education. That’s not to say it has nothing to do with the census debate; however, even if these changes in polling numbers were the result of what’s in the news, and they might very well be, there is nothing special about it.
To be clear, Graves was only offering “speculation” over the presence of a “deeper structural divide.” But shouldn’t even speculation, particularly coming from a company that boasts the scientific accuracy in its polling, be based on evidence?
Photo: Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff speaks to University of Manitoba students: Ashley Gaboury
Goodale jumped head first into politics
As a continuation of our “Individuals of an Election” series, I wanted to say a few words about Ralph Goodale. This series is meant to give a behind-the-scenes look at some of the politicians either running in the upcoming federal election or who have run at some point in the past. All those we profile here were featured in our book Kickstart: How Successful Canadians Got Started, which means they were nice enough to sit down for an interview.
A few days ago, I mentioned John Godfrey‘s story. He was someone who knew that, before diving into the political maelstrom, he needed to have a grip on (at least) one other career. So he became involved in university administration and newspaper publishing. But that certainly isn’t the only approach…
Ralph Goodale will be again running for the Liberals in Regina’s Wascana riding on the October 14 election. An impressive fact is that his is the only seat in the province not belonging to the Conservatives at this point (which leads one to reflect on the strange status quo in the province, which has historically elected the NDP to its legislature, while opting for across-the-board Tories in the federal game).
But back to the point of this blog: finding out how successful Canadians started out in their careers. The case of Goodale is quite different than that of Godfrey. Goodale dove right in and became an MP at the tender age of twenty-four, then, in 1974, one of the youngest in Ottawa. But times were special. Most important was the impact Pierre Trudeau had on Goodale’s generation, motivating youth everywhere to get involved in the country’s governance.
Goodale also said that, as someone who had graduated from law school at the University of Saskatchewan, he had the option of practicing law. In fact, he was working at a firm when he ran in his first election. But, according to him, sometimes an opportunity comes your way and you have to jump at it: in this case, a series of unforeseeable events that had opened up a spot on the Liberal’s roster. Otherwise, he may have remained a lawyer, gotten his roots down, become a partner and then, next thing he knows, he’s well into his middle years and, perhaps, too old to run an energetic and vigorous campaign.
So, as a counterbalance to the earlier story this week, often individuals can run for politics early in their careers. And for Goodale, it has been his entire career. After a stint as leader of the (doomed) provincial Liberals, he returned to the federal scene and eventually became minister of finance in Paul Martin’s government.
For anyone who is worried that we’ve featured far too many Liberals in these pages (Ujjal Dosanjh, John Godfrey, and now Goodale), especially because of the way this election will likely turn out, fret no longer. Coming up, we’ll feature one of the biggest non-Liberals in Canadian history: Brian Mulroney! And for those worried about the high number of MEN being featured, we’ll be profiling Lynda Haverstock and the other incredible women who have pushed their way to the top in this traditionally male-dominated business.
And for those reading in or around Toronto, the three Kickstart authors are going to be at the Word on the Street festival at Queens Park this Sunday, September 28. The festival is consistently chosen to be one of the city’s best, bringing together thousands of people, booksellers and authors on what hopes to be a glorious fall day. In the IdeaSpace tent at the north end of the park at 11:00 AM, we will be talking about the book, as well as selling and signing copies.